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Old 04-18-18, 11:14 AM
Mb1987 Mb1987 is offline
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Relationship Help??

(It took me almost all week to write this, so Iím not expecting anyone to actually make it through this whole novel, but if you do, awesome!)


Hello, Iím new here. Iím a 30 year old female who has finally come to terms with and started treatment for my ADD and anxiety about 6 months ago (maybe like 5-8 months ago, I canít remember!). Iíve had GAD and ADD ruin huge portions of my life because Iíve always been so terrified of meds.

I failed out of college twice, never held down jobs very long, have always been super impulsive, and have always had the worst relationships until my current one.

I have recurring dreams that life is passing me by too quickly and Iím running severely late for everything from work to my own wedding in these dreams. Theyíre more of nightmares as they come with severe anxiety and leave me feeling horrible in the morning, like Iím failing at life. I also still have dreams that I canít make it to a final exam and am failing college again. Ugh! So ready to forget that part of my past and move on to a new me that follows through with plans and doesnít fail everything because Iím taking on way too much at once.

When my relationship of 4 years started to suffer (actually, it had been suffering badly for a couple of years but I somehow didnít realize or wasnít paying attention or something) like every other relationship Iíve ever had, I tried really hard to listen to what my partner had to say this time without judgment and getting instantly defensive. I often feel like I am being treated like a child since heís always on my *** to check the oil in my car, return things, pay things before late fees occur, etc. Its like unless I can get myself going in a regular habit of something, there is no way Iíll just remember on my own!

Iíd never made it much past the first anniversary of any relationship Iíd been in before. I quickly got bored with my exís and was always talking to other people on the side... this is the first relationship I have ever been in that I have remained 100% faithful through and have never even felt a desire to look elsewhere. It is also the first person who has put up with my **** and frequent emotional outbursts for faaar longer than I deserved. I would go between feeling like a mean nasty person to a victim all the time. I would seriously wonder if I was in an emotionally abusive relationship some days. I think I have always confused my good intentions with who I am as a person. Like I want to do all these things and express my emotions in a good and healthy way and be kind and loving. But a lot of times it feels like I am not capable and then I am just having severe anxiety over it and donít even realize I am being distant or ****ty. Because I am so defensive, it has always been hard for me to actually listen to criticism. My heart starts instantly pounding, I get shaky, my eyes well up with tears, etc. I take anything that is not positive said to me and internalize it as a personal attack. I canít just ever take it for what it is... I donít know why and I freaking hate it about myself!!

But definitely something I love about this guy is that he has stuck with me through these cycles for so long and he has pushed me to get help no matter how much I push back. We have a 2 year old together and he is an amazing father. I donít ever want to feel like he is staying with me just to be with our daughter. Sometimes I do feel that way and it sucks! But then we end up having a heart to heart and I understand a little more about myself and how hard I am to deal with.

So anyway, I started 40 mg of straterra a day and after about a month, the bf said there was a noticeable difference. I wasnít interrupting and arguing nearly as often. It made me really tired though in the early afternoon though so my dr had me start taking 40 in the am and another 40 in the afternoon. I got over the tiredness and my anxiety was relieved so much because I wasnít having constant racing thoughts 24/7 anymore. I then started 20 mg of citalopram after being on the straterra for a couple months because I was still having frequent anxiety. It made me feel sick and I ended up stopping my afternoon straterra and only taking the one in the morning. After my anxiety (and the depression I wasnít even aware I had) improved so freaking much, I felt so much better and positive about the ADD. Proud of myself even that I could be happy and I interrupted less! I was keeping the house clean, something I struggled with my whole life. I was finding new systems that worked for me.

But Iím still an awful person sometimes. I used to be the worst driver ever. I got into bad road rage almost every time I drove and no amount of ďmindfulnessĒ could get rid of that adrenaline pumping anxious angry feeling that could start the moment someone decided to cut me off or ride my ***. The only thing that saved me was having a kid. When sheís in the car, I just look at her and keep telling myself the most important thing is keeping her safe when I get that feeling. But if Iím driving alone, the road rage still happens :-(

I sometimes snap on strangers in public for stupid misunderstandings and then I feel like the biggest *** afterward. Itís like I know I can do better, I want so bad to do better, but I can never catch the **** before it happens... itís like a reaction I feel I physically have no control over. Much like the tears that show up every time I feel any anger, embarrassment, or too overwhelmed, or anxious. But no matter how much I try to explain it to my bf, he just doesnít seem to believe that I really canít control it. In his mind, Iím trying to make him feel bad and I think Iím a victim.

I know I am all over the place, but Iím just trying to give a brief history before asking some advice. I love this man with all my being and need some relationship tips from someone who has overcome similar issues. I need to be able to accept hearing things about myself that may not align with the false image I have of myself. I recently realized that that image is based more on my good intentions than reality. I want to be a good friend, mom, and partner so freaking bad. Iím sick of losing my keys, my cards, my phone, my sense of time. Iím so done with feeling on edge and frantic. Iím sick of trying so hard and getting minimal results!

The bf and I got in a pretty bad fight a couple days ago that was of course started by me. We used to get in bad ones a couple times a week. Now that Iím medicated, itís only once a month. But itís still too often. Our fights always resort to me saying Iím leaving him, which I never actually want. I mean, I may think I want it in that moment when I am so overcome with anger, but as soon as that all passes, I always wish I could take back things Iíve said. I know they are very damaging to the relationship, as are the things he says in response to my outbursts. But the fact that the longer we are together, the better I have gotten mentally, gives me hope that I can overcome this. I decided as of yesterday that I will be going back to my prescribed dose of 80 mg of straterra a day and see if it will help much for the impulsiveness and racing thoughts and forgetfulness that plague me daily.

What can I do besides having good intentions to make my life easier? (I have been slowly trying to add in moments of mindfulness throughout the day, since my toddler doesnít nap anymore so if I tell myself Iíll meditate when I have time, itíll never happen) Are there any helpful books or reading materials/podcasts/anything that anyone can recommend? I just need something that is a good starting point. I canít let myself destroy this relationship!!

P.S. if you read this whole thing, thank you so much. I know itís super long winded and overboard but Iíve never talked to anyone about this stuff before except for a therapist (who was basically useless aside from a few of the paper handouts she gave me). If anyone is in a similar place to me and would like to talk, I am more than happy. I have no one to relate to on this **** so it would be great to talk to someone whose brain works somewhat like mine. Iím starting to believe Iím a freak of nature. Ha!
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Old 04-18-18, 12:49 PM
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Re: Relationship Help??

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time in your relationship! I personally don't have the rage and interrupting symptoms of ADD so I can't speak from personal experience, but I think maybe a therapist specializing in anger management could really be helpful? Also you could talk to your boyfriend while you're not feeling upset with each other and see if maybe he'll go to couples counseling with you? They can help you both communicate better so that he knows how to avoid triggering your anger and you know what to do to deescalate the situation when it happens anyway.

There are two books I would recommend if you haven't already read them: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg and Daring Greatly by Brenť Brown (or any of her other books, really). I feel like both would probably help you, but whether or not you read them I would still suggest seeking out a therapist who specializes in helping people with anger problems.

Mindfulness is great and I'm glad you're already doing that. Learning to recognize your thoughts before they become strong emotions is really going to help you, but it's a pretty long process (especially applying it when something is actually happening). I know patience isn't exactly our thing but keep at it and it will pay off in the end! Finally I just want to say that it's a good thing that you recognize that this is a problem you have and that you want to try to help yourself. Way to go!
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Old 04-18-18, 01:48 PM
CharlesH CharlesH is offline
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Re: Relationship Help??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mb1987 View Post
(It took me almost all week to write this, so Iím not expecting anyone to actually make it through this whole novel, but if you do, awesome!)
Don't worry. Other people have posted stuff that were way longer than this! You write clearly (you just have a lot of content to cover).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mb1987 View Post
I also still have dreams that I canít make it to a final exam and am failing college again. Ugh! So ready to forget that part of my past and move on to a new me that follows through with plans and doesnít fail everything because Iím taking on way too much at once.
I have the same type of stress dreams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mb1987 View Post
But no matter how much I try to explain it to my bf, he just doesnít seem to believe that I really canít control it. In his mind, Iím trying to make him feel bad and I think Iím a victim.
I don't think people "choose" to have emotional outbursts. At the same time, we are responsible for our actions, especially when they affect others. So maybe it'd be more productive for both of you to focus your emotional energy on trying to problem solve. Do you see a therapist? I don't know what exactly is causing your issues, but it's not because you simply choose to have issues or because you're a bad person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mb1987 View Post
It made me feel sick and I ended up stopping my afternoon straterra and only taking the one in the morning. After my anxiety (and the depression I wasnít even aware I had) improved so freaking much, I felt so much better and positive about the ADD. Proud of myself even that I could be happy and I interrupted less! I was keeping the house clean, something I struggled with my whole life. I was finding new systems that worked for me.
So to clarify, do you think your med regimen adequately treats your ADHD? Because I'm suspecting that your ongoing emotional dysregulation could be due in part to ADHD. Just something to think about. Have you and your doctor considered adding a stimulant medication to supplement the Straterra?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mb1987 View Post
Are there any helpful books or reading materials/podcasts/anything that anyone can recommend? I just need something that is a good starting point. I canít let myself destroy this relationship!!
Russell Barkely, Daniel Amen, Thomas Brown are the experts that I've found most helpful. They have varying amounts of material you can find online/youtube for free.
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Old 04-21-18, 01:18 PM
Mb1987 Mb1987 is offline
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Re: Relationship Help??

Thank you so much for the responses. I have been logging into this page every day and thinking no one has responded but just now was able to find my post again after trying to figure out if it was even ever posted.

I really appreciate the reading and listening recommendations. I did do a google search for reading suggestions but if I wait till I pick something on my own, I’ll never start reading because I’ll never stop researching which thing would be best for me to read first ������

After our last fight, the bf did make he specific request that when I am feeling like I’m going to cry and need to give myself a time out, to tell him that and to let him know that it’s me and not him. While that sounds simple, the emotions often come out of nowhere and surprise me just as much as they surprise him. But that doesn’t make me an innocent bystander. I’m not a victim to myself. There is a part of me that has recently questioned if I am subconsciously starting stuff when I feel like we aren’t as close emotionally, because the making up makes me feel good and we always feel so much closer and more connected afterwards because we have these heart to hearts and understand each other a little bit more. The thought that that could be the case horrified me.

I think the more open minded I become about examining the things I do that bother him (that I used to be ok with blowing off because I “couldn’t help it”), the more I will be faced with things I don’t like about myself that I need to work on. I just really need to put my energy into working on one new thing at a time until it forms a habit before bringing in something new. That has always been a huge problem in my life. Having far too positive an outlook when judging what I can take on at any given moment. After becoming a stay at home mom two years ago and losing any type of routine I ever had, I really shut down and became a hermit not only in my home, but in my own head.

As far as the meds go, my doctor would give me the stimulants if I wanted to try them, but there are two reasons that it not currently an option for me. One is that I have a regular resting heart rate of 100-110 bpm and have palpitations often so anything that interferes with my heart rate instantly brings on anxiety. The other is that I have always had an addictive personality so I would be nervous about taking them as prescribed. I don’t drink anymore, but when I did, I always wanted to get as messed up as I could without feeling sick. That was always the goal. But the drunker I got, the more I wanted to drink. So I was binge drinking every weekend for years.

I am hoping that the extra 40 mg of Strattera daily will help more. I have been feeling more positive and hopeful the past few days, but I’m thinking it’s due more to the furthering my progress on self discovery than the meds. I know they take time to work and Strattera has a far more subtle effect than stimulants. I think they are definitely helping me though because for the first time in my life, at 30 years old, I have been able to keep my house clean. For the first year and a half of my daughters life, the bf and I fought over how I should have enough time and energy to keep the house cleaned and take care of our daughter. I really felt incapable because I had the greatest of intentions and felt like I was starting every day on the right track, but was always derailed and lost in my head by late morning and telling myself I would start my new self tomorrow. I started seeing the completely unhelpful therapist a few months before starting the meds and somehow, whether it is a placebo effect of the meds, or maybe me just trying harder than I ever have in all my life (??), I am able to keep my house clean. That alone has made me so proud and gives me such a good feeling. It started with me making a list of everything that had to be done daily, every other day, weekly, etc. I allocated different chores to different days. After a few months of pushing myself to follow the chore schedule, it became easy and I no longer needed my list. Now it gives me anxiety when there is a mess. If my daughter wants to play with her blocks, she has to clean up everything else first.

Lastly, the bf has said in the past that he would go to couple’s counseling with me. But it only ever comes up when we are exploding at each other. I absolutely hate therapy because I hate talking about all the things that make my eyes well up. It’s humiliating and weird to me. But I know hard work is sometimes painful and maybe it really is what I need. I think I would try finding someone I personally like and do therapy by myself before I would do couples counseling. I don’t know why but just the thought makes me cringe so bad. I am the worst about talking about any feelings or emotions unless it is through text. Super healthy for someone like me, who has an insane over abundance of emotions...

I’m going to get started on this list of reading now. Thank you again to both of you for the suggestions and starting points!!
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Old 04-21-18, 03:14 PM
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Re: Relationship Help??

Nothing wrong with crying during a therapy session.

That shows you have a lot of pain inside ... You can either deal with that pain upfront in therapy ... or deal with that pain as you are now ... with the pain popping up at the wrong times.

Road rage: sounds to me like pain from childhood ... anger, feeling taken advantage of ... so you're already filled so to speak with some anger ... and then something happens and your top blows off ...

So along with the meds, I'd definitely recommend therapy. Keep going until you find a therapist you ARE comfortable crying in front of ... But here's my question: what's so bad about crying? ... Were you teased as a child when you cried?

Crying is neutral ... simply a sign that you are feeling strong emotions ... nothing bad or humiliating to that ... but if you weren't allowed to cry as a child, you may be carrying unnecessary and harmful family baggage on that.

Crying is definitely a sign of strong feelings ... you can either process those feelings up front and in a healthy way ... or ignore them and have them come and bite you in the back ... as they seem to be doing now.

And your discomfort with crying is a perfect topic for you and the therapist to deal with ... I remember one therapy session when I started to sob when the therapist mentioned one of my brothers ... She instantly knew that there was a lot going on with this brother ... and we dealt with it ... Powerful! ... and incredibly helpful! ...

Crying can be the best clue of where you have a block, where you have a lot of unprocessed hurt and pain and rejection ... use that clue! That's what it's there for ...

Good luck.
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Old 04-21-18, 04:39 PM
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Re: Relationship Help??

admittedly, i did my best to read everything, but i'm sure i missed some stuff.

1. couples counseling would be great for you. but talk about it when you're not upset. ask for help setting up it, perhaps?

2. i'm sorry your toddler no longer naps. that's ******* brutal. i have a three year old and the day she stops napping...oi! are you sleep deprived? when i am, that makes me more irritable.

3. i'm impatient and interrupt a lot (i'm currently not medicated for my adhd...long story, but it is what it is at the moment). can you try low-dose stimulants and monitor the heart palpitation thing? they're usually the first line of treatment. my psychiatrist doesn't prescribe strattera ever...he thinks it's just not effective. he could be wrong, but, something to consider.

4. i don't have any books to recommend for you, but maybe if your boyfriend were up for reading gina...****! i forget her last name. it's like, "you, me, or adhd". peron, maybe? anyway, i haven't read it, but others have and have said positive things about it.

5. i think it would be good for you both to learn non defensive communication and non defensive listening. and for your boyfriend especially. the key, in my opinion, is that you need better tools to communicate your feelings and thoughts and frustrations where you're not attacking each other. the number of fights you say you used to have and even now have seems like a lot to me.

6. get a babysitter and spend some quality time reconnecting. it's hard to have a toddler. they're awesome, but they will suck the kindness out of your relationship sometimes. for me, i feel like i give so much energy to my kid that i need a reminder to give some to my partner. and on his side, he spends all of his excitement and joy on her and then there's me getting the tired, unenthusiastic him. we had to work that out.

7. all of this can be navigated if you're both committed to doing so.
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Old 05-06-18, 05:08 AM
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Re: Relationship Help??

MB1987 you sound a lot like I used to be.Therapy for like 17 years and a good psychiatrist saved me. I wonder if you have more than just adhd going on. I say that because stratterra was originally studied and made to treat depression it was only when the company realized it was hard to compete in the antidepressant business and that it had a marginal effect on adhd that they flipped and marketed it and received approval for it to be a secondary adhd treatment. So it works like an antidepressant and your response to it makes me think that an antidepressant is what you do need. But the road rage, distractibility, forgetfulness, emotional outbursts and dysregulation, fighting and mood stuff make me think that a stimulant would also help you.
Now.. I have bipolar II and I am not saying you are like me, but getting that under control first was key and then also treating the adhd appropriately was key.
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